I spent part of the morning looking through sales fliers and coupons, making out my "stock up" grocery list. I realized the time had come... I had to clean out the freezer to see what lurked in the far bottom corners before I spent any more of my limited funds on meat or fish.
You must understand, the garage is still cold! However, after some self whining... I finally decided I had all the materials ready... so let's get with it.
I've tried to figure out how to organize this freezer and actually made it a subject of prayer. Here is what came to my mind...
Yesterday I purchased two boxes of Zip Lock storage "Big Bags"... one with 4 extra large bags, the other with 5 large bags. These are the kind that are used for holding toys, household items, etc.
I used each of the extra large bags as follows: one for all deboned chicken breasts, one for all other chicken (except whole chickens), one for all ground beef, and one for all other beef. These are huge bags.
I used each large bag as follows: one for frozen veggies, one for frozen fruit, one to put the two whole roasting chickens in, one for fish, and one just for the packages of cranberries I stock up on at Christmas.
I plan to purchase one more box of the large size and use one for my frozen butter, and another for my grated cheese, another will be used for things like nuts that I freeze in bulk.
These will also be perfect for holding 5 lb. bags of flour in the freezer for a few days to "debug" them before placing in Rubbermaid type containers on my shelves.
I place everything I freeze in the original package and in a Zip Lock bag. Since I reuse these Zip Lock bags over and over, they last "forever". The only time they don't get reused if when I defrost ground beef in that bag and it "catches" any leaks from the package. Good way to keep the refrigerator clean, too!
I use the regular Zip Lock bags for most of the items I purchase at the grocery store. The only time I use Freezer Zip Lock bags is when I'm putting something in them that is not originally in a bag (for instance, berries from a U-pick farm). They need that extra protection.
Most of the time, I can put only one item in each package but I can get two butters in each and three packages of shredded cheese. I buy shredded cheese when it comes on sale. With the whole chickens, I leave them in their original plastic grocery bag. Even when I put them in the Large Zip Lock bag, I kept each one in their original grocery bag... makes it easy to use the bag's handle to take the bird out of the freezer.
Of course, with something as large as a frozen turkey, I'd just place it "as is" in the freezer.
Here is what I have finished so far. It will only require another few minute's work to finish the rest when I purchase one more box of the Large Zip Lock bags tomorrow. I will use the baskets only for homebaked items and perhaps things like concentrated orange juice.
Oh, what did I realize about my budget? I needed more ground beef, absolutely no chicken, and I should take advantage of the buy one- get one free talapia and shrimp offers.
By the way, I left the Large and Extra Large storage bags open since the food is already well protected. Since they have handles, it was so easy to look through the freezer, find the bag with what I was looking for, and just bring out that storage bag!
It is a good thing to pray about sorting out one's freezer!